Microsoft has a lot on its plate for BUILD 2013, needing to get back on track with Windows 8.1 while pushing the next generation of SharePoint and developer tools. Can the company generate new momentum, or are developers now entrenched in their own particular ecosystems?
Building New Developer Relations
A capsule summary of this year's developer events so far could easily be, "nice, but moving on." Microsoft and BlackBerry were reduced to paying for mobile app developers, Apple's recent WWDC highlight was a high-end workstation and Windows 8 users are looking for Microsoft to fix existing problems at this week's Build.
The days of "big news" from developer conferences seem to be over. Enterprise developers are likely more looking forward to 2014's SharePoint conference, where they can hide away from all these pesky end-user demands and focus on the cool stuff.
So, expect Microsoft to make a big thing out of Windows 8.1 "Blue", perhaps a Windows Phone update and the new Office for iOS, to generate the headlines, and then get on with hard work of selling developers with its hackathons, dev sessions and showcases (yes, and the parties).
For attendees, the latest from the worlds of Windows, Azure, Office, Visual Studio plus Windows Phone and Xbox development will be on-show. Microsoft has just announced a $700 million cloud server farm in Iowa, so expect interesting news in how the company will evolve and leverage these services in the near future.
Further Adventures in Visual
A preview of Visual Studio 2013 and Team Foundation Server is likely to be the first port of call for many developers. These were announced earlier this month at TechEd with all-new application lifecycle management features, version control updates and lightweight code commenting among many other additions and improvements.
Getting hands-on with the latest release should keep existing developers keen and happy, but can Microsoft do anything to attract new blood to its ecosystems? Word on the web is that Microsoft will push Azure for enterprises this year, as opposed to its startup focus in recent times.
But, the big question, with Windows 8 and Windows Mobile still lagging in the app stakes, and seemingly struggling to break out of the "me-too" mentality, is there anything the company can push, beyond cash incentives, to get developers aboard? It will be worth watching to find out.
All the sessions will be recorded and put up on TechNet if you can't attend in person, last year's are archived here if you're catching up. We'll have all the news from Build as it emerges, follow the #bldwin hastag to keep up with what your developer friends at the event are doing.